Now that summer is almost here and the sun is at its brightest the question keeps coming up: What do you do to protect your skin from the sun?
My family and I spend at least half of our time awake outsideâ€”between the garden, playground, and outdoor excursions. We are fortunate that although we are all light skinned, we tan easily and rarely burn.
Did I forget to mention that the beach is less than 30 minutes away?
There is conflicting information on whether or not the chemicals in sunscreen do more harm than good.Â I am no scientist or expert on the matter, but my general opinion is that the less chemicals I put on my body, the less there will be in my body.
Researching your Sunscreen
The Environmental Working Group, or EWG, had this to say:
A new study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reveals thatÂ 97% of Americans are contaminated with a widely-used sunscreen ingredient called oxybenzone that has been linked to allergies, hormone disruption, and cell damage.Â A companion study published just one day earlier revealed that this chemical is linked to low birth weight in baby girls whose mothers are exposed during pregnancy.Â Oxybenzone is also a penetration enhancer, a chemical that helps other chemicals penetrate the skin.Â To read more about Oxybenzone, read the full article.
To read the rebuttal to the EWG’s statements, check out this article (which provides further links as well):Â Statement by Farah Ahmed, Chair Personal Care Products Council Sunscreen Task Force Response to the 2012 EWG Suncreen Report
Dressing in Sunscreen
Not to overstate the obvious, but wearing layers of clothes is always a good idea. Hat, sunscreen, and cool, loose fitting clothes are a good place to start.Â I say a good place to start, however, because most clothes only offer an SPF of about 5. What can you do to help boost your clothes SPF-fighting abilities?
1. Wash it up
RIT makes a product calledÂ SunGuard Wash-In. I had a hard time scrounging up much information on this, but if you’re curious to try it I’m sure you can find out more about it and what chemicals it contains.Â Â Here is a link to their website to find out more about it.
- Â Â Â Washes UPF 30 sun protection into everyday clothing
- Â Â Â Blocks more than 96% of the sun’s harmful rays
- Â Â Â Protection lasts through 20 future washings
- Â Â Â No need to buy special garments
2. Specialty clothes
Brands like Coolibar specialize in clothing that offers a high UV protection. After my father-in-law had to have a not-so-good-looking spot removed from his skin he invested in these bathing suits for his grandchildren. They cover arms and legs.Â For more information on Coolibar check out their site here.
Eating your Sunscreen
1. Supplements and Vitamins
I came across this article byÂ Markâ€™s Daily AppleÂ and just had to share it. Hereâ€™s an excerpt from his article,Â 8 Natural Ways to Prevent a Sunburn.Â He addresses adding supplements to your diet such as Vitamin D, Lycopene, Omega-3s.
â€¦If something is protecting us from the sun, and itâ€™s not just in everyoneâ€™s heads, what else can we do to bolster our natural sunblock? Letâ€™s take a look at some potential supplements and dietary strategies. Iâ€™ll reference research as often as possible, but Iâ€™ll also draw on anecdotal experience, both personal and from the community at large.
2. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil may also provide protection from the sun, both internally and externally. If this interests you check outÂ Skin Health and Virgin Coconut Oil.
Making your Sunscreen
I’m going to add another disclaimer here and say that I haven’t tried any of these recipes and cannot vouch whether or not they work. This is just a compilation of ideas. Feel free to comment and leave your own reactions to whether or not these worked for you!
Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide?
You want to make your own but aren’t sure where to start?Â This article may helpÂ by comparing the two ingredients side by side. These are some instructions that I thought looked promising:
- How to Make Your Own Sunscreen from the Stir
- Natural Homemade Sunscreen Recipe from Wellness Mama
- DIY Sunscreen with 20% Zinc Oxide, 99.95% Natural from Dempeaux
Buying your Sunscreen
Let’s face it, not all of us have the know-how to make our own products, and some things are better left to the professionals. If you want to invest in a good sunscreen here are some great places to start.
SafeMamaâ„¢ Sunscreen Criteria: All sunscreens I approved needed to be free of Parabens, Phthalates, PEGâ€™s (polyethylene glycols), Propylene Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, SLS/SLES, and a bevy of other chemicals I wonâ€™t bother listing.Â Brands exhibit a very respectable ingredients list. The sunscreening ingredient we mainly avoid is the synthetic chemical oxybenzone.
When you canâ€™t avoid exposing your skin to the sun, use EWGâ€™s Sunscreen Guide to find top-rated sunscreens with broad spectrum (UVA and UVB) protection but fewer hazardous chemicals that penetrate the skin.Â U.S. sunscreen makers are seeking FDA approval for UVA-screening chemicals approved for use in the European market.Â Â In the meantime, all of EWGâ€™s top-rated products contain either zinc or titanium minerals to filter UVA rays.
There you have it!
Everything you wanted to know about sunscreen, and then some. Did you find this compilation helpful? Leave me a comment and let me know if there’s anything I forgot, your own recommendations, or reviews for products or recipes that you enjoy.